WAILUA — State Rep. Dee Morikawa was glad to hear the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and the Kauai County Farm Bureau was hosting the 22nd annual Agricultural and Environmental Awareness Day Thursday at the Wailua research station.
“I’m glad to hear they are doing the program,” said Morikawa, who was among the panel of legislators briefing the Lihue Business Association membership.
“This is one of the programs the legislative team voted to support during this past session. We appropriated funding for more CTAHR positions.”
Savannah Katulski of UH CTAHR was one of the new faces appearing at the Ag Awareness Day that involved more than 500 students in the fifth-grade from Kauai’s public schools, charter schools, private and home schools.
“This is my last Ag Awareness Day,” said Laura Kawamura, an extension agent. “I’m teaching her everything so she’ll be ready when the Kauai County Farm Fair takes place during the Admission Day weekend at Vidinha Stadium.”
Bridget Orsatelli, a leader with the 4-H Kauai Livestock Club, was also elated with Katulski’s appearance and participation at the live goats at the milk exhibit where students got hands- on experience in milking a goat.
The exhibit, new to this year’s Ag Awareness Day, presented the nutritional value of milk, compared milk from cows and goats, and culminated with students getting a turn at milking a goat.
“It felt really weird,” said Quinn Coscarella, a Kalaheo Elementary School student. “It’s kind of like squeezing a warm water balloon.”
The milk exhibit was one of 11 lectures and 20 exhibits set out on the campus of the Wailua research station where students could see first-hand and get hands-on experiences with agriculture.
“Why isn’t mine pretty?” a Kilauea Elementary School student asked at the Master Gardener station where students were engaged in rooting sweet potato cuttings.
“This is a perfect canoe plant for this,” said Jack Dacey, a Master Gardener who had his hands full flitting between eager young hands hungry to take home their accomplishments. “It roots readily, and in a few weeks, they’ll have a nice plant to look at.”
Rodney Haraguchi of Hanalei Taro was also present despite being a casualty of the recent flooding from record-breaking rains.
“He’s still here,” said Laurie Ho of the Kauai County Farm Bureau. “He had to create new displays because the floods destroyed his old ones. He’s also here by himself because everyone else is working on recovery efforts.”
A liberal sprinkling of fun also livened up the agricultural experience as a crew from Corteva agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDuPont provided plastic from corn along with students creating slime at the Hartung Bros. station, and the Kauai Coffee Company engaging students in a take-off of a bean bag toss. Students also enjoyed the recently unveiled Husqvarna toy versions of landscaping equipment at the M. Kawamura Farm Enterprises station.
The next event for the Kauai County Farm Bureau, which partners with The Shops at Kukuiula and the Kauai Community College for weekly community markets, is the Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair which will take place over four days in August at Vidinha Stadium.